Food : Trivandrum Rating : 5/5 Stars

Kaffeehaus – Christmas Special 2017

A couple of days ago, I saw the ad from the owner of the Swiss cafe named Kaffeehaus at Vazhuthacaud, Trivandrum, announcing their special Christmas Menu thats in place for the week from Christmas to New Year… This menu ended up peaking my interest and so I went over there to try it as my lunch of the day… 🙂 Once again, the decor looked exactly as new and one change from my last visit was that they added one more table in the room and thats exactly where I ended up seated 🙂

The Christmas Menu has both a Vegetarian and a Non-Vegetarian option… According to the menu both cases, they start you off with a Vegetable Consomme followed by a starter, which for vegetarians is Vegetable Carpaccio with Aubergine Tartare and for non-vegetarians, its the Tuna Tartare with the Vegetable Carpaccio… This is followed by the main course consisting of the Vegetable Au Gratin for the vegetarians and for others, its the Goulash (Beef) with Spatzle… Then for dessert, there is the special Kaffeehaus Christmas Pudding served with a choice of Ice Cream… All of that for what I consider to be a very affordable price considering whats served for it… So, I went for the Non-Vegetarian option and because I don’t eat beef, even though I made an honest effort to do so after being served the Goulash (didn’t know it was made with beef until it was served), I simply couldn’t and upon my request, they graciously replaced it with the vegetarian main course for me…

Now as always, I met the owner and this time her brother was also there who was kind enough to offer to let me try out a new trial dish which is the Chicken Schnitzel… The owner had mentioned during my previous visit that they were planning to introduce the same and so, was indeed looking forward to trying it and to my surprise they let me try it as complementary… And just like before, I had to have their homemade Iced Tea as well… 🙂

The first dish to arrive was the Vegetable Carpaccio with Tuna Tartare… The Carpaccio is usually an appetiser made with very thinly sliced or pounded raw meat or fish and typically served sprinkled with olive oil, lemon juice or vinegar and seasoned with salt and pepper… Some places are known to add in truffles or truffle oil to it as well… The version however, is different as in, here, we have Carrot and Zucchini sliced to be wafer . thin and instead of them being raw, they have been grilled and is served with a dollop of Tartare made with canned Tuna instead of raw Tuna, which is clearly understandable as there are practical issues to serving raw fish/meat here in Trivandrum… I guess to be in complaint to the Christmas theme, there are some pine nuts as well in the plate… The Tartare is topped with a slice of tomato and a sprig of Parsley and the whole thing is dressed with Olive oil and Lemon juice and seasoned with salt and pepper…

First of all, the vegetables were crunchy… I liked the canned Tuna Tartar made with just the right amount of mayo and parsley and seasoned absolutely perfectly… The Lemon juice gave it the necessary acidic kick and the roasted Pine nuts brought the necessary nutty crunch to it… The whole combination worked incredibly well and it is a very clean dish with each ingredient boldly visible… Overall, I loved every bit of it…

After the appetiser, I got served the Vegetable Consomme… Since I chose the Non-Vegetarian option of the Christmas Menu, they have added some roasted Chicken into it… For those who are unaware, Consommes are clear soups made by clarifying a  richly flavoured stock… Typically, the clarifying process involves the use of egg whites to remove the fat and sediments… Since this is a Vegetable Consomme, that won’t be necessary and is usually a finely strained vegetable stock… Here, they have served the Consomme with some chopped Vegetables along with the roasted Chicken and then garnished with some chopped parsley and seasoned with some butter, salt and pepper…

The Consomme was as expected pretty much crystal clear and incredibly light with absolutely no thickening (won’t be a consomme if otherwise)… The flavour was amazing with the taste of the Vegetables and also the Garlic used… The vegetables used clearly were fresh and crunchy… The Chicken was cooked really well and it brought in a bit of its flavour to the Consomme… Altogether an incredibly clean and light soup that I loved every bit of and I would love to have this as a soup starter any time… My only complaint is that I think it would be easier to have if served in a cup rather than the shallow bowl…

After I was done with the Consomme and after replacement of the maincourse as I mentioned earlier, I got served the Vegetable Au Gratin… The Gratin is a widely known technique where an ingredient is cooked by baking to get a light brown crust or rather skin… Its is formed either using Bread crumbs, Cheese, Egg and/or Butter on top of the ingredient and then baking in an overhead broiler or grill…

The version here appeared to be consisting of Vegetables namely, Zucchini, Broccoli and Bell Peppers baked with some Cheese and White Sauce to like a Casserole and then served with some pasta… Along with it in the plate, there appeared to be a bit of Honey and Balsamic reduction around it… Once again, there are some roasted Pine nuts… Its Christmas afterall… 🙂

First of, even though its a Gratin, the crust is clearly not visible… However, the taste was absolutely perfect… The vegetables were cooked really well and the white sauce tasted incredibly rich and creamy and the combination of the vegetables with the white sauce and the cheese tasted amazing… Even though I personally don’t usually like to have Broccoli, I liked it this time in this dish… The pasta was as always cooked to the perfect al dente.. The roasted Pine nuts did bring a bit of crunch to the whole dish which was otherwise incredibly soft and buttery because of the nature of the vegetables used… Altogether a fine dish fit to have anytime… A suggestion I have which I believe will make this dish taste even better is to add more kinds of vegetables in it… Instead of keeping just the Zucchini, Broccoli and Bell Peppers, add in vegetables like Carrots, Beets, Potatoes, Green Beans, Peas, etc…

As mentioned before, the owner’s brother offered to have to me try the trial dish which he was trying in the kitchen and thats the Chicken Schnitzel… So, once I was done with the Vegetable Au Gratin, it arrived… For those who are unaware, a Schnitzel is basically a meat thats thinned by pounding with a meat tenderiser and then fried… It is said to have originated in Austria and is very popular is many counties where its made with different kinds of meats like Beef, Veal, Mutton, Chicken, Turkey, Venison and Pork… Most versions of the Schnitzel including the original Austrian version are typically fried coated in Flour, beaten Eggs and Bread Crumbs…

The version of Schnitzel served here is clearly the breaded kind made with Chicken Breast… It is then served with Tartar sauce, some Vegetables (in this case, juliennes of Carrot, sliced Tomato and sliced Cucumber) and a wedge of Lime as can be seen in the pics below…

To be frank, this is the first time I had a Schnitzel and I can tell you thats its easily the very best tasting piece of fried Chicken that I have ever had… The batter and breading was incredibly thin, fried to a perfectly crispy golden brown color and the Chicken was cooked and seasoned absolutely perfectly (with salt, pepper and I think there was a bit of Paprika as well) that it can be easily pulled apart with a fork and it did indeed melt in my mouth… The Tartar sauce tasted quite refreshing with the Schnitzel and the vegetables added additional texture to it… My only complaint is that I wish there were more than a single piece but then again, this is a trial sample… To be frank, I simply can’t wait to go back and have it again…

Once I was done with the Schnitzel, at the end, the dessert arrived… This dessert is from the Christmas Menu and it is the special Kaffeehaus Christmas Pudding with a choice of Ice Cream… Among the choices, I chose the Vanilla Ice Cream and that was what was served with the pudding as shown in the pics below… For those who are unaware, Puddings are traditionally composed of Dried Fruits held together by egg and fat, usually Suet and then sometimes moisened with molasses and they are flavoured with Cinnamon, Nutneg, Cloves and other spices and aged for a month… Modern versions these days end up using Flour as a binding and so, essentially puddings these days are steamed cake like (but much denser) desserts made with Flour, Sugar, Dried Fruits, Eggs and Fat (usually unsalted Butter) and flavoured with the spices…

Obviously as can be seen from the pics below, we have here the pudding thats definitely the modern version made with Cashewnuts, Dried Grapes and Plums… It was served warm with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream and dressed with some Chocolate sauce and some Strawberry sauce at the side as can be seen in the pics below…

Once again, one of the best tasting dishes I have even had… In fact, I rate this as the absolute best pudding and dessert that I have ever had… The amount of sweetness and the spices were absolutely perfect for me… The Plums, Cashews and Dried Grapes tasted incredibly good in the pudding whose texture was also perfect for me where its right in the middle between a cake and a halwa 🙂 I really hope they include this in their regular menu as it is one that I would love to have regularly 🙂

As mentioned above, since I loved the homemade Iced Tea from my previous visits, I simply couldn’t resist and had to have it this time as well… So, had the Lemon variant which was served as shown in the pics below…

Just like before, the Iced Tea felt incredibly refreshing with just the right amount of Lemon in it… This remains my favourite Iced Tea option in Trivandrum…

So, altogether one of the absolute best lunches I have ever had with each and every item tasting absolutely exquisite and perfect that this undoubtedly deserves a 5 out of 5 stars from me… Unfortunately, as per the owner’s announcement, this special menu exists only till New Year and so, I have requested the owner to add the items I got today into their regular menu… I really hope they do… Fingers crossed 🙂

 

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